In synthesizing the various types of research articles inherent to a Ph.D. program, this researcher has developed a qualitative measure of the linguistic approaches used by scholars in reporting their research. Please consider the following spectrum of language found in research reporting.
On one end of the spectrum, we have Malcolm X:
Brother Malcolm speaks in direct, concise language. His thoughts have an organized, accessible logic. This logic is informed with equal parts experience and extensive references to literature and research. He makes transparent adjustments to his prior conclusions and works to constantly improve his methods. Moreover, X demonstrates an empathy for his audience – a study of his delivery shows his commitment to engaging the recipients of his message.
For a clear anecdotal example, consider “The Bullet or the Ballot,” a speech that defines Brother Malcolm’s poise:
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Mojo Jo Jo:
Mojo Jo Jo uses endless pontification in reference to insignificant concepts. His purpose is finite: to take over the world and destroy all who oppose him – especially the Powerpuff Girls.
Here is a brief example of Mojo’s speech patterns:
The above video is salient to this researcher. The plot of the episode is that Mojo Jo Jo is sentenced to teach English as a New Language for his nefarious crimes. In doing so, he conditions his entire town to speak in his needlessly expanded language – language that he uses as evidence of his superior genius and onus to rule the world. Mojo has no regard for his audience or the quality of his presentation. Instead, he is obsessed with proving his own worth to the world.
By referring to the literature pertaining to the linguistic patterns of qualitative researchers, this educator hopes to demonstrate the applicability of this spectrum to the analysis of scholarly research.
Today marked a continuation of the raging debate over the validity of types of research, their relationship to reality – and indeed – what the heck IS reality, anyway.
For a concise summation of this debate, we should turn to the webcomic, XKCD (used without permission, but with awe and reverence):
In reviewing the paradigms, theories, methodologies, approaches, and genres of qualitative and quantitative research, I am learning about the nature of data collection. All of these ideas have been universally referred to as a “flashlight” meant to focus the researcher and reader’s approach to data collection. This researcher, of course, has only one response:
Bleepity Bleep Bleep. Morse code necessary. Telegraph wire destroyed by constructivist shrapnel. Send more rations, dry socks and pigeons.
So rather than be, literally, the 40th person in one single class (let alone my other 3 classes) to provide the same formulaic introduction – the type of introduction that absolutely no one actually gives two clicks about – I decided to rhyme.
You know whether or not a class will be dope or whack by the reactions of the students and professor to something like this:
(For now, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngrbu-0C5N8)
Today I was exploring mathematical reasoning. In one explanation, I was able to reference my grandfather’s old Brownsville, Brooklyn speakeasy casino mantra: “Never play a Sugar in dice.” In another, I explained the methods of generating Dungeons and Dragons characters with the best results out of supposedly random determination of abilities via six-sided-dice. In a third, I explained the concept of “high/low” and progressive betting in Blackjack.
I’d say this is was a superb day of educational exploration.
The next 3 posts will address the debate over standardized testing. This week simply opens the issue with general comments. Next week’s post will deal with statistics and anecdotes. The final post will illustrate alternative assessments & varied means of implementing these tests.
Rest In Peace. Criminal Justice. Public Education. Why are these words often so closely related?
Recently, I attended a funeral of an American High School student. His family and friends called him Tico. He had just turned 18.
Tico was murdered by three gang members, themselves aged 16, 24, and 33. The cause was retaliation for Tico’s own affiliation with a local gang from his neighborhood. The three suspects have been arrested and are charged with Murder. That’s four lives ruined in a matter of minutes.
A second student, Rodriguez, never made it to class this year at all. He was stabbed in an alley after being set-up by a girlfriend. He was 16 years old. The girlfriend and her accomplice are also charged with murder. Another 3 lives ruined.
I am in my third year here at American High School. I have witnessed violence already: student-on-student, crowd-on-crowd, and crowd-on-student fights occur with regularity.
However, this is the first time that I have lost a student, let alone two. I am not alone in my frustration and grief. In Chicago, Harper High School was recently portrayed by the radio broadcast, This American Life. At Harper High alone, 5 students were killed in a single school year, and gang violence has eroded the community’s sense of belonging (let alone public safety). The news story ends with educators from Los Angeles, Texas, New York City, Atlanta, and many other American school districts similarly lamenting the many young people whose lives ended in violence.
Education is a powerful force. It can occur formally in a classroom, with traditional academic content. Education also happens in our communities. Our youth are socialized towards the values presented to them by the environments in which they are raised. The direction of young lives can be dictated by the streets of their neighborhood as much as the halls of their schools. Young people are attracted to organizations that they perceive as providing security and a sense of belonging. Where resources are scarce, families are overworked (or absent) and crime is high, young people will turn to what is readily available in their communities for structure. When the school day ends, the surrounding communities take over. Not all influential community groups are positive, just as not all indeterminate cliques (aka “gangs”) of people are negative.
Many people have strong perspectives about education and related social policies. Questions of how to teach, what to teach, the role of educators, and the quality and relevance of American public education are debated every day. Parents, teachers, administrators, government stakeholders, taxpaying citizens and corporate America all have a vision for our educational system.
I am going to use this blog to honor those young people that we have lost, those that we are losing, and those that we will lose if revolutionary social changes are not made to save a species that never seems to make the endangered list. Like all social media, this is my perspective – shaped by my experiences as a student and educator.
I invite you to follow this blog, which will be updated weekly.